Local farmers respond to Chinese threat of tariff - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Local farmers respond to Chinese threat of tariff

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Viroqua, WI (WXOW) - -

Threats continue between President Trump and China over imposing tariffs. China has threatened a 25-percent tariff on a number of United States agriculture products, including soybeans, in retaliation for President Trump's threats to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.

"You have to go after the people that aren't treating you right," said President Trump.

Farmers are at the center of the latest tariff proposed by China that targets United States agricultural goods.

"We've got a lot of extra product in this country, so we rely on our trading partners to buy our products," said Paul Buhr.

Buhr is a democratic candidate running for the 96th District Assembly; however, outside of politics, his life is at Rabur Holsteins as a dairy farmer outside of Viroqua.

"It's been too often the case in the past that the first casualty of the trade war is the American farmer," Buhr said.

A tariff on soybeans impacts not only those who farm that crop, but many farmers who rely on feed made with soybeans. The tariff would result in a reduction in feed prices. That benefits dairy farmers in the south and west of the country who only buy feed. However, it would cost farmers in the Midwest that grow the soybeans, as the cost of growing the crop would not be any less.

Although there would be an obvious financial impact, Buhr says the international reputation of American farmers is on the line as well.

"Just as you as a consumer want somebody reliable when you go buy a product that you can trust, if we aren't trustworthy or reliable that we're going to be there, they will look somewhere else," he said.

The proposed tariff is gaining criticism from both political parties.

"The approach that the President is taking is inviting retaliation only against us, and typically it hurts our family farmers with the products that they're going to target," said Wisconsin 3rd District Congressional Representative Ron Kind (D).

Senator Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa also issued a statement against the possible tariff, reading in part:

“The United States should take action to defend its interests when any foreign nation isn’t playing by the rules or refuses to police itself. But farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country. It’s not fair, and it doesn’t make economic sense. "

Farmers hope for a better conclusion from world leaders when it comes to trade.

"Right now we just have rhetoric," Buhr said. "Hopefully things are mended before they are put in place in May."

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